Genre: YA Sci Fi
Thank you NetGalley and Artemis Femme publishing for a copy of this book!
ZENA SKALA is freed from an asylum at age eighteen after serving time for a crime she didn’t commit—the presumed murder of her missing brother.
Unwanted attention from the police and media ensues. Zena’s only hope resides in the deserted Skala Estate and memories from her odd past.
Secrets await in her family home. Some more dangerous than others…
This is the first book I’ve read by Vaun Murphrey, and her writing voice instantly stood out. You know when you read the first few sentences and go “yeap!” because you know you’re in good hands? I had that feeling.
I enjoyed the tone of the main character introducing us to the story. There’s a lot to like about Zena, but there’s equally a lot to get frustrated about. She’s a tall girl (Amazons represent!) and blase about things enough to be quietly sassy. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind often. For instance, what’s the first thing you do when let out of an asylum and left unsupervised? Drink, of course. Especially if you have a dodgy family history.
The main chapter I enjoyed with her was the flashback chapter (disguised as a dream which was kinda sneaky) introducing her brother Christophe – who, I admit, I was instantly drawn to. Vaun’s description made him an early key player for Book Boyfriend 2017, not gonna lie.
Dominic is equally nice, though a bit underdeveloped. And when the First Big Twist turns up in the first quarter, it seems to be skimmed over so quickly as though it’s automatically integrated – not even Zena, who I’d imagine despite being casual about stuff having seen it all before would still be shocked and have some discernible reaction other than “ok gimme food” – and then we’re moving on to the next plot point.
While this book isn’t perfect, I would pick up something of Vaun Murphrey’s again because I did enjoy her writing, I just hope the pacing is more equal.